WineCare, the New York wine storage facility ravaged during Hurricane Sandy, has gone into liquidation.
As reported by the Wine Spectator, federal bankruptcy judge Robert Gerber ruled on 16 December that the company would be liquidated.
WineCare filed for bankruptcy last January, a day before client Philip Waterman III was due to inspect his £200,000 wine collection stored at the Chelsea facility.
A number of prominent New York wine collectors have filed lawsuits against WineCare’s owner, Derek Limbocker, for the loss of their wines, including London-based New York restaurant owner Keith McNally.
Since the hurricane hit in October 2012, Limbocker has kept over 27,000 cases of wine on lockdown, with customers being refused access to their own wine.
Last January, Limbocker claimed that 95% of the wines were unharmed. By 20 December, WineCare’s answering machine had been disconnected.
“Most of the customers have not seen a single bottle yet. We just don’t believe that if he remained in control, he would return any of the wine any time soon,” Gary Kaplan, attorney for four prominent wine collectors, told WS.
According to Limbocker’s lawyer, 10,000 of the 27,000 cases had been scanned and returned to storage by last June, with a small number of clients receiving their wines.
But by the end of November, WineCare had nearly US$185,000 in unpaid bills.
Having owned and run an off licence on New York’s Upper East Side, Limbocker opened WineCare Storage in 2005.
Hurricane Sandy killed 44 people in New York City and ravaged 305,000 homes in New York State.